Date: March 14, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Aussies Around The World: Weekend Preview

By Alistair Hogg Rod Pampling will return to the Bay Hill Club this weekend to defend his Arnold Palmer Invitational title. The Queenslander claimed last year&aposs event by one stroke from American Greg Owen which launched him into the world&aposs Top 50. Pampling now sits at 39 and will be looking to climb even further if he can repeat his 2006 heroics in Florida. However scores are not expected to be low on the unforgiving Bay Hill course which has been reduced to a par-70 after the par-five fourth and 16th holes were converted to par fours. Most of the rough is around 10cm tall and according to several players it is the thickest they have seen on the PGA Tour. In addition to this, rain has been forecast in Florida for Thursday and Friday which could prove an extra challenge for players on this tough layout. However there will be everything to play for as the Top 10 players in the FedExCup standings after the tournament will qualify for next week&aposs World Golf-CA Championship at Blue Monster. The only Aussie in contention is John Senden who currently occupies 22nd and will need at least a runner-up finish on Sunday to lift him into the Top 10. But another strong showing will keep the MFS Australian Open champion in the hunt for a start at the WGC event as the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings also qualify, as do the Top 10 in the European Tour Order of Merit. Senden is 52nd in the Official Rankings while Nick O&aposHern is sitting seventh on the European Tour. Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby are also contesting the Arnold Palmer Invitational but are well entrenched in the Top 50 and will be guaranteed starts in Florida next week. Allenby is coming off a solid fifth place finish at the Honda Classic earlier this month while Ogilvy enters the tournament following the Accenture Match Play Championship in which he came agonisingly close to defending his title. Australians entered in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Florida Robert Allenby Stuart Appleby Aaron Baddeley Andrew Buckle Steve Elkington Nathan Green Mark Hensby Peter Lonard Nick O&aposHern Geoff Ogilvy Rod Pampling John Senden A large field of Australians will also head to China to play in what is only a relatively new tournament. The TCL Classic on Hainan Island is only two years old and its brief history is anything to go by, we are in for some very low scores. Swede Johan Edfors shot a 25-under to win from Aussie Andrew Buckle who was 24-under the card. The highest score of the tournament was one-under and the cut was set a remarkable five-under. There were also five holes-in-one which was the most set in any European Tour event for a decade. Australian Scott Strange also performed well to finish at 15-under while countrymen Unho Park and Brad Kennedy finished two strokes back at 13-under. These players and more will return to the Yalong Bat Golf Club this week to contest the 2007 Classic. Also in the field are brothers Troy and Brad Kennedy as well as Wade Ormsby and veteran Peter Fowler. Australians entered in the TCL Classic at Yalong Bay Golf Club, Hainan Island Scott Barr Neven Basic Adam Blyth Marcus Both David Bransdon Mitchell Brown Tony Carolan Gavin Flint Peter Fowler David Gleeson Adam Groom Ashley Hall Scott Hend Brad Kennedy Troy Kennedy Adam Le Vesconte Simon Nash Wade Ormsby Unho Park Terry Pilkadaris Gary Simpson Scott Strange Kane Webber Matthew Zions